As our daughter had returned back from India for holiday, we made one her favorite dishes. Mutton Nihari! Usually it is easier to buy Nihari from a restaurant as the cooking process is long, however it is very difficult nowadays to get this dish as very few restaurants make it and those who do, have not been able to master this dish and provide it regularly with the same consistency.
In the old days the meat was usually cooked with all its ingredients on slow fire for hours till the fat melts and the meat literally falls off. But nowadays due to our busy lives and to save time, a pressure cooker is ideal to quicken the cooking process. The meat should be pressure cooked just enough as you will need another hour of cooking the meat with the gravy so that the masala blends well with the meat. We used full lamb shanks but meat with bones can be used, preferably from the leg. Bone marrow gives it that additional kick and makes it a superbly flavoursome gelatinous gravy.
You can use a ready-made/ packaged Nihari masala from the store, which actually makes sense due to the no. of ingredients involved or use the recipe as given below.
For the Nihari masala – Grind the below spices to a fine powder
2 Bay leaves
1 ½ tbsp Fennel seeds
1 blade of Mace
10 to 12 Black peppercorn
6 to 8 Green cardamom
5 to 6 Cloves
1 ½ tsp Cumin seeds
2 sticks Cinnamon sticks
1 Black cardamom
1 Star anise
7 to 8 Kashmirir red chilies
1 tbsp Roasted chana dal
½ tbsp Poppy seeds
1 kg Mutton with bones / Lamb Shanks
6 to 8 tbs Oil / ghee may be substituted
4 medium sized onions – finely chopped
3 tbsp ginger/ garlic paste
1 tbsp red chilli powder
Water as required
Salt as per taste
2 tbs Wheat flour mixed with little water to thicken the gravy
1 tbsp Lemon juice
Pressure cook the mutton with enough water and salt (a few full spices can be added for flavour) till the meat gets soft enough and tender. Separate the stock and keep aside.
In another vessel heat the oil and add the onions till nicely brown, add the ginger paste along with the chilli powder and ground Nihari masala. Fry well. Add the mutton stock with some water and let it simmer on slow fire for an hour. Check the taste once done and add salt if required.
Make a mixture of wheat flour with some water and add this to the gravy. Stir well to avoid lumps from forming. Add lemon juice and simmer on slow fire till the gravy is thick and the fat floats on the top.
Garnish with ginger, coriander leaves and green chillies.
Serve hot with your favourite naan or roti. We also had it with rice and it was awesome